Schools in crisis, reforms not working, U.S. federal panel declares

Stephanie Simon:

A federal commission on Tuesday said the U.S. education system had “thoroughly stacked the odds” against impoverished students and warned that an aggressive reform agenda embraced by both Democrats and Republicans had not done enough to improve public schools.
The report from the Equity and Excellence Commission – a panel of 27 scholars, civil rights activists, union leaders and school officials – describes an American public education system in crisis.
The commission, which was dominated by more liberal members, called on the federal government to take a more active role in public education – traditionally considered a local matter – by pushing states to desegregate schools, equalize funding and demand better training for beginning teachers. The group also echoed President Barack Obama’s recent call for universal preschool.